April 12, 2024

Leeds Live Music Scene

Leeds plays host too many venues, this currently includes Leeds University refectory, Leeds Metropolitan University, Brudenell Social Club and The Faversham among many others. The O2 Academy Leeds opened back in October 2008, and holds up to 2,300 people at a time, the venue is run by the Academy Music Group and follows in-line with their other music venues around the UK.

Leeds often holds occasional gigs in the city centre, Millennium Square, Roundhay Park, and Leeds Holy Trinity Church. All of which have played the likes of Kaiser Chiefs, Madonna, U2 and Robbie Williams.

Leeds First Direct arena opened in 2013, and was recently voted Best New Music Venue in the World 2014 at the Stadium Business Awards. This venue has played host to some incredible artists since opening including Sir Elton John, Michael Bublé and Mumford and Sons.

Although the music scene in Leeds seems to be going strong, over five venues have shut down recently, including Leeds Cockpit and Carp Diem.

Leeds Cockpit has been home to live music for the past 20 years, but 2014 saw its doors close forever. The Cockpit opened in 1994 and hosted gigs by artists such as Kaiser Chiefs, Amy Winehouse and the White Stripes. It held up to 500 people in its main room underneath the railway arches.

Colin Oliver, one of the venue’s promoters, explained that he was sad to see the Cockpit go and blamed it on a changed society. He also said that no money had been spent on the venue in over 20 years and as a company they could not afford to be ‘emotionally attached’ to the venue. He also added “people do not go out to nightclubs during the week, and students have big debts”.

Carp Diem, another live music venue in Leeds confirmed its closure late September.
This underground bar hosted 100s of gigs over the years and became very well-known within Leeds music scene. Many famous bands played at Carp Diem, including Pigeon and the Kaiser Chiefs.

It is said that Carp Diem got bough by a different company and then went bankrupt, causing them to close down. They announced their closure on Twitter: “Alas its true we have closed doors for final time. Our heartfelt thanks to anyone who played, drank, ate, laughed & cried inside our walls.”

The Well also announced its closure in 2012, after nearly 20 years of live music, due to the owner revoking the right to use it as a live music venue.

The owner, Mr Pullan, decided he would rather run Josephs Well without a music venue in the basement. However, no one was ever given a specific reason as to why he chose to do this.

In their statement they announced: “We have spent 6 months investing in the property and rebuilding this amazing live music venue … This is the end of The Well.”

With the recent closures of the live music venues, Leeds still manages to put on some brilliant shows with what it has left and we can only hope to see more venues open.

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